President Donald Trump accused the New York Times of committing a “virtual act of treason” in reaction to a report stating that the United States is ramping up assaults on the Russian power grid.
“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,” Trump tweeted. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.”
Trump said in a separate tweet that the story was “NOT TRUE!”
“Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today,” he added. “They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”
…..ALSO, NOT TRUE! Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today. They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2019
Earlier in the day Trump tweeted the “Corrupt News Media is totally out of control—they have given up and don’t even care anymore.”
The Times’ communications team responded by tweeting, “Accusing the press of treason is dangerous. We described the article to the government before publication. As our story notes, President Trump’s own national security officials said there were no concerns.”
The report, released on June 15, said the Pentagon had infiltrated Russia’s electrical grid among other unidentified objectives, inserting American malware into the structures in reaction to increased Russian cyberaggression and political interference, including attempts to affect the latest U.S. elections.
The officials said that the United States was deploying computer code within Russia’s grid and other targets. The moves are reportedly part of a broader initiative “directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections,” according to the Times.
“It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year,” one senior intelligence official told the Times. “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.”
Washington Examiner reported:
Trump’s ties to Russia were the subject of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but no criminal conspiracy was found.
Yet the president has been quick to side with Russia over his own intelligence network in refusing to cast blame on the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin for meddling in U.S. electoral affairs.
Mueller also outlined 10 instances of possible obstruction in his report but declined to make a determination about whether the president obstructed justice. Democrats argue Mueller’s refusal to clear Trump on obstruction provides them a road map to continue to investigate and possibly seek impeachment. Attorney General William Barr said he and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined there was not sufficient evidence to charge the president with a crime.
Trump recently accused former FBI Director James Comey, who oversaw the beginning of the counterintelligence investigation into his 2016 campaign, of committing “treason,” a crime that is punishable by death in the United States. Barr said he disagreed with Trump’s “treason” accusation as a legal matter.